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When should kids be banned from the bathroom of the opposite gender?

Posted by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 9:18 AM
  • 39 Replies

My 8-Year-Old Daughter Uses the Public Men's Room to Pee

by Jeanne Sager

public bathroomThe older my daughter gets, the more nervous I get sending her off to spend a day with her father. It's not him. It's the fact that, at some point, she will have to go to the bathroom. And then what?

Does a daddy take a little girl into the men's room? Does he try to find a one-seater ladies' room where he can feel confident standing outside the door? Or does he risk it, sending her into a big bathroom full of ladies without a single adult she knows as company.

This is not just a problem for mothers of little girls. A mom of a little boy recently got chewed out by women for taking her 5-year-old son into the women's locker room to change his clothes.

The mom reports that most of the other little boys in her son's swim class came with their fathers. But it was just her with her son, who she would help change in a stall in the women's locker room rather than send him into the men's room alone.

I don't blame her. My daughter is 8. She's old enough to change clothing herself and old enough to handle the various aspects of using a public toilet (layering toilet paper on the seat, wiping, flushing, etc.). When she and I go into a restroom together, I usually allow her to use her own stall while I use my own.

But I'm still wary of sending my child into a public bathroom alone, and so is my husband. If he's alone with her, he does what he has to do ... brings her into the men's room so she can pee.

The other options are just too scary.

Who knows who is in there and what they could do to her. Worse, they could do it relatively privately depending on the size of the stalls (I've seen some that are completely closed off like small rooms). Some even have windows or a second exit from which a child can be abducted.

Call me paranoid, but I prefer the term "cautious."

Only ... I don't know when to throw caution to the wind and just let her go. She's 8 now, should I have stopped years ago? Some moms would say yes. My brain tells me it's common sense for a mom to take her 5-year-old son into the women's locker room, and still ... people freak out.

But I know I'm not ready, and most moms I talked to agree.

And here's a fact that might make you feel better if you're a father taking your daughter into the men's room ... or you're a mom taking your son into the ladies' room: according to a chat I had with Dr. Charlotte Reznick, an associate professor of psychology at UCLA and author of The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety Into Joy and Success, kids' brains don't really become wired for handling tough situations on their own until around 12.

So how about you? When do you think kids should be banned from the bathroom of the opposite gender?

by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 9:18 AM
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Replies (1-10):
NDADanceMom
by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 11:20 AM
2 moms liked this
I was in a changing room at a water park. It was packed so you could not go into a shower stall or toilet stall without waiting a long time. A woman had her 8 year old (or so) son in the changing area. I'm pregnant, hot, and i have 3 kids waiting on me. I just whipped off the suit and changed with the kid watching. The kid and mom were mortified but guess what? Its a damn changing room.
If your 8 year old sees man taking a pee that's just part of having her in a mans bathroom. Don't like it? Stay out.
Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jun. 27, 2013 at 11:27 AM
1 mom liked this

8 year old can go in the ladies room alone while Dad waits.  People are freakishly obsessive with kids getting hurt today. 

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jun. 27, 2013 at 11:28 AM
1 mom liked this

That 8 year old should have gone in the men's.  I can't blame you.  I would have said something rude to the Mom when she gave you a look. 


Quoting NDADanceMom:

I was in a changing room at a water park. It was packed so you could not go into a shower stall or toilet stall without waiting a long time. A woman had her 8 year old (or so) son in the changing area. I'm pregnant, hot, and i have 3 kids waiting on me. I just whipped off the suit and changed with the kid watching. The kid and mom were mortified but guess what? Its a damn changing room.
If your 8 year old sees man taking a pee that's just part of having her in a mans bathroom. Don't like it? Stay out.



Nichole134
by Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 12:37 PM

My 7&3 year old sons go into the bathroom with me if my husband is not there......and i dont care if someone else has a problem with it.

CatFishMom
by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM

When Im comfortable that my child knows how to-and is capable of-taking care of himself in a dangerous situation, ie someone approaching him and trying to touch him or hurt him. I have no idea how old he'll be but until that day comes, the women in the ladies' rooms better just restrain themselves from peeing in the sinks or whipping out god knows what outside the stalls because my sons are coming in!

(And those ludicrous examples are precisely my argument when women get up in arms about boys coming into the ladies' rooms-what are you so afraid of them seeing? Anything 'private' should be happening behind a closed stall door, not out by the sinks and therefore theres nothing inappropriate for my boys to see. I also do not have monsters who like to peek under doors or wreak havoc; those kids need to be controlled.)

catngabsmom
by Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 12:54 PM
I don't think banned is a good word, I think when the child starts to feel uncomfortable. I don't think bringing boys into a girls bathroom is as bad, because there are stalls, not so in a men's room. My husband was ecstatic when he was able to trust and let our girls go into the women's bathroom on their own, he always felt uncomfortable taking them in to the men's room. He always took them to the largest stall so there was enough room for the three of them, but he hated walking past the urinals to get there!
CatFishMom
by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM
1 mom liked this

 Tough luck for her, being embarrassed. Like you said, it's a changing room. Personally, I wouldnt care that he was in there-it's not safe for an eight year old to be in the mens room alone, sorry, especially if it was situated like the ladies' where there are men changing. Who knows what could happen, but if she actually had the nerve to say anything to you, I would have jumped her and told her she could feel free to blindfold her son or wait outside-it IS the ladies' room. My boys would simply have been told to face the wall; I expet them to be respectful of the other women in that room, and that respect is just as important as their safety.


Quoting NDADanceMom:

I was in a changing room at a water park. It was packed so you could not go into a shower stall or toilet stall without waiting a long time. A woman had her 8 year old (or so) son in the changing area. I'm pregnant, hot, and i have 3 kids waiting on me. I just whipped off the suit and changed with the kid watching. The kid and mom were mortified but guess what? Its a damn changing room.
If your 8 year old sees man taking a pee that's just part of having her in a mans bathroom. Don't like it? Stay out.


 

mjande4
by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM

I personally believe that once they are old enough to read the words girls/women and boys/men that they are too old.  There is much hysteria about nothing.  Contrary to many mom's over zealous imaginations, there is NOT a predator lurking around every corner.  You teach your child to get in and get out.  I will say when my daughter was about 9, we were at Target and one of her male CLASSMATES came out of the stall (his mother was washing her hands).  To say that the boy and my daughter were equally mortified is putting it mildly.  She has NEVER been able to look at him the same and that was five years ago.

CatFishMom
by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

 Eight years old, alone, in a men's bathroom. Are you kidding? Do you have any idea what could happen to him? The mother needs to figure out how to teach her child respect, have him face the wall or close his eyes, whatever, and she needs to get over herself if she thinks people should accomodate her and her kid, but there is no way that child had any business being alone in a men's bathroom.
My eight year old would have been in there as well because Im not taking the chance of him being raped or molested by strangers, but he would have been told to be respectful, turn away or whatever was the best solution and would NOT have been standing there watching women undress. I also would never have dreamt of saying anything to the woman undressing because, yeah, ladies' changing room. What did the mother expect?


Quoting Anonymous:

That 8 year old should have gone in the men's.  I can't blame you.  I would have said something rude to the Mom when she gave you a look. 

 

Quoting NDADanceMom:

I was in a changing room at a water park. It was packed so you could not go into a shower stall or toilet stall without waiting a long time. A woman had her 8 year old (or so) son in the changing area. I'm pregnant, hot, and i have 3 kids waiting on me. I just whipped off the suit and changed with the kid watching. The kid and mom were mortified but guess what? Its a damn changing room.
If your 8 year old sees man taking a pee that's just part of having her in a mans bathroom. Don't like it? Stay out.

 

 


 

Night_Roane
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM
1 mom liked this
I think by 6 or 7 they are perfectly capable of using the public restroom while someone waits outside the door. You can always crack the door and call in to see if they're ok.
My 4yr old uses her own stall. The only thing she really needs help with is washing her hands (because she can't reach). 8yrs is def excessive, imo. An 8yr old is a bit big to just tuck under your arm and walk off with, and they would scream if a stranger grabbed them. Besides, I don't think anyone would bother a kid if they saw the parent waiting outside of the door.
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